The Underreamer

We are now at Hole D (the fourth hole at our site) and preparing to set casing so that we can drill very deep and sample some of the igneous basement here in the Laxmi Basin.

Today we were testing the underreamer which is a crucial part of the drilling apparatus that widens the hole behind the regular drilling bit and allows the insertion of the big metal tube that forms the casing that will prevent the upper part of the whole from caving in and ruining the hole conditions. I’m rather fond of the underreamer as it looks like some type of weapon out of Alien. This device was lowered from the rig floor and tested by blasting high-pressure water through it in the way that it will operate in the subsurface. It was however an excellent photo opportunity and indeed the chance for a free saltwater shower for any member of the scientific party who got too close to that.